Doc-Brown

I have to start by saying Back to the Future is my favorite movie, ever, and I never get tired of watching the trilogy. It’s the kind of thing where I have the movies on DVD but if one of them is playing on TV, I will forget about what I was going to do that day and watch it on TV, commercials and all.

I know there are problems with the plot — things that don’t make sense or aren’t explained — but I don’t like the Back to the Future trilogy because it’s perfect. I like it because those movies are fun to watch.

Keeping that in mind, I realized something that makes all of Back to the Future Part II unnecessary.

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Hero, Sidekick, Villain

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created a classic trio of characters with his Sherlock stories: hero, sidekick, and villain. For example: Sherlock, Dr. Watson, and Moriarty.

I took a look at other stories to see how closely they fit Conan Doyle’s setup. These aren’t in any particular order and this certainly isn’t an exhaustive list — just off the top of my head.

Story Hero Sidekick Villain
Sherlock Sherlock Dr. John Watson Moriarty
Harry Potter Harry Ron, Hermione Voldemort
Merlin (v1) Merlin Arthur Morgana
Merlin (v2) Arthur Merlin Mordred
Fringe Peter/Olivia Walter, Astrid Walternate
Superman Superman Jimmy Olsen Lex Luthor
Batman Batman Robin The Joker
Doctor Who The Doctor [companion] The Master
Teen Wolf Scott McCall [his pack] [multiple]
Haven Audrey Nathan, Duke the Troubles
Chuck Chuck, Sarah Casey [multiple]
Back to the Future Marty Doc Brown Biff
Dresden Files Harry Murphy, [multiple] [multiple]
Roswell Max [his friends] FBI
Matilda Matilda (none) her parents, Trunchbull
The Sandlot Benny Smalls the Beast
Star Wars (original triology) Luke Han, Leia Darth Vader

Source-code-train

The end of Source Code seems somewhat open to interpretation, but there’s enough evidence to show that Colter ends up in an alternate reality and does not change events in our reality.

Dr. Rutledge explains that when Colter goes to the train, it isn’t time travel. It’s “time reassignment.” Colter doesn’t go back in time every time he enters source code—he experiences what happened on the train by reliving memories of Sean, one of the passengers on the train.

Why Colter’s “time reassignment” isn’t just a simulation

A few things in the movie point to larger worlds outside the source code.

Mainly:

1. Calls and emails still get out into the world outside the train, even if they’re going to different versions of people (not the people in our reality)

2. If source code were only a simulation based on Sean’s memories, Colter wouldn’t be able to take action that goes beyond what Sean experienced (like when Colter gets off the train because he thinks the suspect got off the train).

3. Dr. Rutledge and Goodwin keep saying everything beyond the mission is irrelevant, so they wouldn’t have spent extra time programming small, irrelevant details into source code. For example, it shouldn’t matter what the college student is studying, but we know he is preparing for a psych exam. There is no reason to program jokes for the comedian, but he has a few ready to go when he’s asked to entertain the passengers.

If source code isn’t simply a simulation program and we take the end of the movie into consideration, then source code is a system for creating alternate realities.

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